The reason I disfavor the American version, is that it starts off with a heavy butter cake. It lacks good syrup, and is topped with bountiful cherry filling and cream. They each tend to overpower the cake in their own way.
This is a great recipe, comprising of fatless chocolate cake and a thin layer of filling and frosting. The cake is soaked in yum brandy syrup. After eating the German version, you will never want to get back to the American version. I made this for a get together with friends tonight. I doubled the recipe to make 2- 11x15 rectangle cakes. Put the kids to sleep and got everything done last night. Tasted it this morning, it is so so good. I wish I had soaked it a wee bit more.
What I used: Makes a 2 layer 8 inch cake
2 - 8 inch pans (If you have one, just use it 2 times, greasing and flouring at every use)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
2tsp vanilla extract
3 heaped tsp cocoa powder
For the syrup:
3tsp cherry brandy or rum
6tsp sugar dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water (or in the maraschino cherry syrup)
1tsp lime juice
1tsp strawberry jam
For filling and frosting:
1lb ready whip cream
6tsp strawberry/raspberry jam – whisked with 2tsp of syrup
A chocolate bar, grated to shavings
8oz can of maraschino cherries in syrup
Baking the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the 8 inch square/circle pan with butter and dust it with flour. Set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture doubles in quantity. When the mixture is light yellow and frothy, slowly add the flour and beat on the lowest setting until combined. Don’t over beat.
Pour the batter equally into 2 pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
In the meantime, combine all the syrup ingredients, Bring to a boil. Turn off and cool. Take a cake board or tray where it will be placed. Spread a tsp or 2 of jam on the base of the board. Place the first cake on it. Gently scrape off any crumbs, cut off the head, if any, to form a flat cake. Using a fork, uniformly poke the cake top all over. This will aid in soaking the syrup.
Soaking and layering:
Sprinkle the cake with 1/2 of prepared syrup. The first layer is jam; using 3-4 tsp, spread it evenly. On this add 1/2 of the ready whip cream, spread evenly to form the 2nd layer.
Gently mount the next chocolate cake. Scrape off the crumbs, cut off the head, if any, to form a flat cake. Now poke it with a fork. Soak it with the remaining syrup.
Use whip cream and cover sides of cake. Then cover the top. Sprinkle the grated/peeled chocolate. Decorate it with cherries.
My mom remains the expert at this. When I was a kid, mom made this numerous times. She chilled it in the fridge, knowing a rat (that’s me) would devour half of it by morning. Not once did my mom scold me for it. We remember those days and laugh about it now. Love you mom!